The state is among the fastest growing in the nation for technology areas being targeted by the Department of Defense
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — A study led by the Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) and conducted by RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, and the North Carolina Department of Commerce has found that while North Carolina is a small market for defense contracts, it is among the fastest growing states in the nation for technology areas being targeted by the Department of Defense (DoD). Findings and accompanying recommendations were detailed in a report by DANC published today.
The study team based their research on the six technology areas the DoD is prioritizing for future contracts: advanced manufacturing, autonomous systems, data and knowledge management, human performance, materials and power.
According to the study, over the past five years, North Carolina ranked first in economic growth in data and knowledge management and human performance, and second in power and advanced manufacturing. The state also has a high concentration of jobs in research and services related to the six technology areas compared with the national average.
“We often talk about how much the Research Triangle region has to offer in terms of technological innovation and expertise,” said Tim Gabel, Executive Vice President of Social, Statistical and Environmental Sciences at RTI and a member of the DANC Executive Board. “What’s exciting about these findings is that we have capabilities across our entire state that should create a path forward to bring more jobs and long-term investment to North Carolina.”
The study team interviewed non-defense companies in North Carolina across several technology industries to understand how companies viewed defense as a market.
They found that 11 percent of North Carolina companies in the six target technology areas have defense contracts. The main reasons companies did not have defense contracts were a lack of awareness of opportunities, difficulties in navigating government proposals and greater financial opportunities in commercial markets.
“DANC wants to acknowledge the fine work of RTI and the NC Department of Commerce and thank the many partners for their support in updating this analysis first attempted over a decade ago,” said Paul Friday, Executive Director of DANC. “Significant effort from now until late spring will be placed on: ensuring easy access to the information, developing and getting marketing materials out to the economic development community and positioning partners and especially companies for future success as we continue to grow this state’s defense economy.”
Informing this study was a core team representing 11 organizations from across North Carolina, with input from more than 30 industry, government, military, nonprofit and academic organizations that continue to work together to support and build North Carolina’s defense economy.
The report published by DANC includes recommendations for securing more defense contracts through leveraging North Carolina’s innovative companies and research organizations. North Carolina can strengthen and lean on relationships with uniformed and civilian leaders at installations across the state, but looking at the broader needs of the DoD and focusing on the six technology areas the department is prioritizing “opens a world of opportunity” for the state, the report says.
The study was funded by the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission.